by Julia Geiser (Howard Suamico School District) & Thomas DeVere Wolsey (Walden University)
Twenty-first century teachers use many digital tools in their classrooms to engage students, provide resources, and encourage collaboration. Sometimes, the strengths of many applications, layered together, are more effective than choosing just one tool. For example, Mrs. Geiser teaches 4th grade and wanted her students to think of reading proficiency as a problem to be solved. She started with a class wiki to organize the inquiry and provide a digital record of activities and samples for assistance.
In small groups students met the problem, “What could you do to become a better reader?” by viewing the “Reading Skills” digital story embedded directly on the wiki, which was created using Photopeach. Then, students clicked a link on the wiki and logged in to Edmodo to complete their “Reflection Check.” Edmodo is a classroom networking tool where students can safely collaborate and post their thoughts about the learning activities.
Next, students examined what they knew, wanted to learn, and how they planned to learn using a KWHL organizer that they could find embedded on the wiki. Following discussion to complete the organizer, students saved it and posted their charts on Edmodo. To monitor student learning, students shared a “Reflection Check” on Edmodo. Students shared their lists of reasons why students don’t understand or remember what they read. In pairs, students sorted each reason categories. From their compiled and categorized list of reasons they were able to begin developing a plan to improve their reading comprehension.
By layering key tools via the class wiki, providing discussion forums on Edmodo, and embedding multimedia created with PhotoPeach, Mrs. Geiser’s students navigate digital tools while approaching the intriguing problem of how to become better readers. What’s next? Mrs. Geiser is working with her students on reading fluency using podcasts created by students on Spreaker, all layered on with other tools, of course.
Teaching With YouTube by Marjie Podzielinski
Opportunities for Multimedia Reading by W. Ian O'Byrne
Safe Social Networking in Schools by Janice Friesn